Popular Mechanics has posted an excellent article on current options for digital camera use underwater, namely the Olympus Stylus 770sw and the Fuji FinePix F40fd. The article is a re-print from their Sept. print magazine, and offers up some brief, but insightful thoughts on how these affordable digi-cams performed both on dry land, and in the water. They also tested in a pool and in the ocean to get an accurate gauge of how the performed in various environments, and posted some images from each camera to compare the quality.
I actually purchased a new point and shoot camera a week or so back before I went to L.A., and was smitten by the Olympus Stylus 770sw. It seems like a great little camera, and I liked that it is water proof down to 33 feet, operates down to 14 degrees F and can withstand 220lbs of force. In the end, it was a little outside my price range, at $380, but it seemed like a great camera for handling rugged outdoor adventures. Reading their thoughts on it however, it seems like it looks better than it actually performs.
The Fuji F40fd required a waterproof housing to take the underwater shots, which runs an additional $180 on top of the $250 for the camera. Overall, it seemed like it performed a bit more consistently than the Olympus, and judging from the provided images, I’d say I personally like the image quality more. My first digital camera was a Fuji FinePix and it offered excellent images and very sharp colors even five years ago. Of course now I’ve moved on to a digital SLR for my main use, but these great little point and shoot cameras make for handy options I must say.
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